Wheelbarrow compost riddle & drying tray

With having a fairly large productive garden and more chickens than you can shake a stick at, we create quite a bit of garden waste, though far from ‘waste’ it is, as we compost just about everything we can. We do this not only to supplement the vegetable plot but also to create our own potting medium.


We’ve found that mixing our home-made compost along with some of the composted PAS 100 green waste we buy in, and a bit of loam, creates a great recycled growing medium for a number of the pot plants we grow. The problem is though that whilst the green waste is screened, our own compost can be a bit lumpy, and needs riddling. The trouble is though that with the quantities the small hand-held riddles aren’t quite up to the job hence this simple device, a large scale compost riddle.


This design means I can riddle large quantities of compost directly from the compost bins and into the wheelbarrow.  I can also put the larger bits of compost that didn’t pass through the riddle straight back on to the cooking heap for further decomposition. You’ll be surprised at the quality of the riddled product.


The other useful element of this large scale sieve is that when it’s not in use it doubles up as an excellent tray for drying out onions and garlics, or ‘hardening’ pumpkins and squashes before storage. And when it’s not doing anything at all, it can be easily stashed away in the potting shed. The project will take no more than 30 minutes to produce and costs a few pounds


As a riddler...


...and now a drying frame


What you will need


  • Saw
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Tape measure
  • Wire cutters/Pliers
  • Staple gun



  •  Approximately 6metres of 25mm x 50mm treated timber batons
  • 1m x 0.5m sheet of weld mesh with 1cm holes
  • Wood screws


Step 1

Measure the width and length of your wheelbarrow to get the dimensions for the compost riddle. Ideally you will need either (or both) the sides or top and bottom of the frame in contact with the edges of the barrow.


Step 2

Using a handsaw or table saw cut the baton lengths according to the required measurements to make two frames. Sand off any rough edges.


Step 3

Drill and screw together each of the two frames using 2.5 inch wood screws. The joint need only be strong enough to hold the frame roughly in shape so a single screw will be sufficient.



Step 4

Using the wire cutters or pliers, cut the weld mesh to fit the frame. Make it a couple of centimetres smaller than the outside edge of the frame so as to avoid any sharp ends protruding.


Step 5

Lay the weld mesh over one of the frames and staple into position. If you don’t have a staple gun powerful enough then small U nails can be used but be sure to hammer them fully into the wood. 


Step 6

Place the second frame over the top of the frame with the weld mesh attached and sandwich the mesh. Drill and screw the second frame into place.


Job done, have a sit down and a brew now



6 Replies to “Wheelbarrow compost riddle & drying tray”

  1. Ooooh, that’s such a good idea and lovely simple design, thank you. I will get my husband onto making one right away (I have been told I’m dangerous with sharp tools, hence the need for husband!)

  2. Excellent Post! I built one of these last fall myself though here in The States we call it a sieve. We’ve already used it once and it was so easy and produced great compost for the garden. I’ve heard of using them to sift the soil too for added loam. I never thought to use it for drying the veggies though. Thanks!

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